His Royal Highness Inyambo Yeta was installed Reigning Prince at Mwandi by his father, then Litunga (King) of Barotseland, Ilute Yeta IV on 27th September 1977, and is the longest known reigning royal in Barotseland as he will have been on the Mwandi throne for forty (40) years this September 27th.
His coronation will be commemorated on the 6th and 7th of October, 2017 when The Royal Palace Water Front Court Yard will open its doors to all citizens of Barotseland and the world for his COLISO (coronation commemorative festivities) where a lot of feasting and cultural performances are expected to take place.
Inyambo Yeta, a lawyer by training, is renowned for pursuing sustainable development of the Barotse through the protection of their natural homeland and supporting Lozi Communities to reclaim their historical rights to managing wildlife and forest, and getting them involved in the conservation of the natural wild resources which surround them. Together with Chief Sekute, His Royal Highness Inyambo Lubasi Yeta played an integral role in establishing the 350,000 hectare Simahala Community Conservancy. This ambitious project on the Simahala Floodplain aims to re-establish the once rich wildlife in collaboration with and with the support of all community members.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MWANDI PALACE: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The Mwandi Royal Village was known as SESHEKE (Sisheke). In Barotseland Kingdom, Sesheke was and still is the area stretching from the point where the Lumbe and Zambezi rivers meet (at their confluence), close to 30km east of the Area Chief Mwanamwalye's Village, south of the then NALOLO, now Senanga (Sinanga), up to the Musi-o-tunya (Victoria falls) in Livingstone.
The Sesheke Royal Palace was first established in the 17th century by the Great 6th Litunga (King) of Barotseland, NGOMBALA, Muhapi wa Manaha (the conqueror of nations) who camped at a place known (up to date) as LWIZI LWA BALUMBU in the Toka language. It was a man-made island (by diversion of the waters of the Zambezi River) 4 km east of the present day Kazungula border. The site was designed and hastily constructed by Ngombala's Prime Minister (Ngambela) Katanekwa Namunda and his troops on their march to raid and annex the geographical sphere of Barotseland.
In the closing years of the nineteenth century and by the end of The Great Litunga Mulambwa's reign, Barotseland came under high tension of kingship contestation over two rival sons of Mulambwa, Silumelume and Mubukwanu, between the peoples of the South and North, allowing easy and smooth facilitation of the Makololo (Sothos) from South Africa to take up leadership of the Kingdom. The Alui, later Barotse, were defeated mainly due to command failure to put up a united battle front.
During the Makololo rule, in 1851, the famous explorer, Dr David Livingstone, arrived at Sebitwane's capital, Linyanti, now in Namibia, the central administration for Barotseland then. Dr Livingstone influenced the Makololo and their subjects to abandon slavery and take up ivory trade in exchange for guns, gun powder and cloth or garments. The market places were either to the west coast in Angola or east coast in Mozambique, using the water channel of the Zambezi. The docking harbour area used to be at Sooka's early village near the present site of Mwandi Palace known by then as Sesheke.
By the end of the Makololo rule in 1864, Litunga Njekwa Lutangu Sipopa established Sesheke at Kazungula as a trade area, Katongo as a Royal Village and Mulimambango (the present site of Sesheke boma) as his farming fields. Kazungula became so famous because of its proximity to South Africa opening up a major trade route for geographers, mappers, geologists, missionaries, hunters, investors and administrators.
It was during Litunga Lubosi, who later became known as Lewanika, that a ruler was installed in Sesheke at Namuyamenenwa in August 1878. He appointed the son of Matauka, his twin sister and Litunga lya Mboela, known as Prince Mwanan'ono Kabuku as ruler there.
Unfortunately, a coup was staged to expel Lubosi from the throne in 1884 by Tatila Akufuna, the son of Prince Imbuwa, the ruler of the Alui in exile at Nyengo, North West of Kalabo Boma, between Mataa and Numwa.
However, when Lubosi bounced back as King in 1885, a female, Mukwae Monde Akanangisa was installed to rule Sesheke in 1886.
In 1894, Lubosi Lewanika installed his first born son, heir apparent, Litia Yeta to rule Sesheke at Kazungula. The Palace was constructed just at the site where the Kazungula border facilities and bridge construction are.
However, by virtue of the treaties, agreements, concessions and arrangements which King Lewanika had entered with the British South Africa Company, Litia Yeta had to leave his Kazungula Palace in 1897 because it was now within the concessioned area, to another site in the Barotseland reserve, called Namukalata, 1km east of present Mwandi Royal Village.
In 1898, the first British Resident Commissioner to Barotseland, Rt. Robert Thorne Coryndon also had to leave the Barotseland reserve, the OLD BOMA (Nan'ole) near Lwatile, south of Lialui, to Kalomo which became the capital of Barotseland/Northwestern Rhodesia by facilitation of the Barotseland/Northwestern Rhodesia Order - in - Council of 1899.
The present site of Mwandi Royal Village was surveyed and the Palace designed by Lewanika in 1902 on his way to England where he was invited to attend the coronation of King Edward VII. King Lewanika was the first of his race to go to England across the waters.
When King Lewanika died in 1916, Litia Yeta left Mwandi to become King Litia Yeta III at Lialui, and Imasiku Mwanan'ono Imwiko succeeded him as ruler at Mwandi.
In 1945, when Litia Yeta III abdicated due to ill health, his brother Imwiko from Mwandi became Litunga and Prince Lubinda Wamun'ungo was installed as Reigning Prince at Mwandi until his death in 1965.
After Lubinda Wamun'ungo, a female, Mukwae Nakatindi Yeta was installed as ruler at Sesheke, and when she died, Prince Mwendaweli Lewanika was installed but he too could not serve long on the Mwandi throne. Then Ilute Yeta, who was Zambia's High Commissioner to Botswana, was installed at Sesheke.
In 1977, when King Godwin Mbikusita Lewanika II died, Ilute Yeta was installed as King Ilute Yeta IV of Barotseland. He then installed his young son, a fresh law graduate, Inyambo Lubasi Yeta as ruler at Mwandi where he continues to reign 40 years later, making him the longest known reigning royal in Barotseland history.
BAROTSELAND POST EDITOR’S NOTE: The history of Mwandi is an adaptation from an anonymous contributor on the commemoration of His Royal Highness Inyambo Lubasi Yeta’s 40th coronation anniversary.